© Reuters. Rescuers are seen on the web site the place staff have been trapped underground after an explosion on the gold mine below development, in Qixia

By Emily Chow

QIXIA, China (Reuters) – Employees trapped in a gold mine in China since Jan. 10 might have to attend one other 15 days earlier than they are often rescued due to a blockage on their supposed escape route, officers mentioned on Thursday.

A complete of twenty-two staff have been trapped underground after an explosion on the Hushan mine in Qixia, a significant gold-producing area below the administration of Yantai in Shandong province on the northeast coast.

One is confirmed to have died, whereas 11 are recognized to be alive. The remaining 10 are lacking.

Rescuers have been drilling new shafts on Thursday to achieve 10 of the boys within the center part of the mine, greater than 600 metres from the doorway, who’ve been despatched meals and medical provides. One other survivor has been present in a distinct part.

The shafts embrace one 711-mm (28-inch) diameter shaft that rescuers hope to make use of to deliver the survivors to security.

Nonetheless, a minimum of one other 15 days could also be wanted to clear obstacles, Gong Haitao, deputy head of Yantai’s propaganda division, informed a information convention on the headquarters of the rescue operation.

A “extreme blockage” 350 metres down was a lot worse than feared, officers mentioned, including that it was about 100 metres thick and weights some 70 tonnes.

Thick smog, reeking of chemical substances, hung over the muddy highway main as much as the mine web site and a row of ambulances on standby in a carpark, decreasing visibility to some hundred metres.

Police have sealed off the highway to the mine, slicing via muddy apple orchards and warehouses, to make sure rescue efforts aren’t hampered. Well being staff in white protecting gear took temperatures beside mounded earth and tents as a part of COVID-19 precautions.

About 600 individuals are concerned within the rescue, with as many as 25 ambulances ready on the scene, in addition to neurosurgeons, trauma specialists and psychologists.

A Reuters staff noticed hearth vehicles and automobiles coming and going via a checkpoint on an method highway.

China’s mines are among the many world’s deadliest. It has recorded 573 mine-related deaths in 2020, in response to the Nationwide Mine Security Administration.

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